The Dangers of Loose Vape Batteries: What You Need to Know

The Dangers of Loose Vape Batteries: What You Need to Know

Improperly stored batteries can cause disastrous problems.

7 November 2023 | Hannah Rubery

The Dangers of Loose Vape Batteries: What You Need to Know (Image)

Lithium batteries, the powerhouse behind most of our modern electronic devices, are compact, lightweight, and highly efficient. They come in various sizes, including the commonly used 18650 rechargeable battery, and are known for their long life and stable output. These batteries have become the go-to source of power for a diverse range of devices, from laptops and smartphones to various household appliances and electric vehicles. However, one of the most prevalent uses of these batteries in recent times is in vaping devices.

Whether it's the disposable vape or a high-powered mod, it's likely that a lithium battery is at its core, providing the energy needed to convert liquid into vapour. But while these batteries are undoubtedly useful, they are not without their risks, particularly when not handled correctly. This guide aims to shed light on these risks, particularly in the context of vape batteries, and provide practical advice on how to handle and store them safely.

Types of Vape Batteries: Internal & External

Vape devices are primarily powered by one of two types of lithium batteries: internal or external. Internal batteries are built into the device and cannot be removed. They are more commonly found in disposable vape devices or smaller, pen-style vapes. The key advantage of these batteries is their convenience; you simply recharge the device when the battery is low. However, once the battery's lifespan is exhausted, the entire device needs to be replaced. In the case of disposable vapes, they are single-use and thrown away after the battery dies as they are not built to be recharged.

Conversely, external batteries are separate, removable units, often found in larger, high-powered mods. These are typically 18650 or 21700 rechargeable batteries, which can be taken out of the device and recharged independently. The benefit here is that when the battery's performance declines, you can simply replace the battery, not the entire vaping device. This makes devices with external batteries a more economic and environmentally friendly option.

Remember, whether you're using a device with internal or external batteries, proper handling and storage are crucial to ensure safety and longevity.

Lots of vape batteries together (Image)

Loose Vape Batteries Explode in Man's Pocket

A troubling incident recently made headlines, driving home the potential hazards associated with improperly stored vape batteries. A vaper suffered second-degree burns when a spare lithium battery in his pocket made contact with his keys, leading to a dangerous short circuit. The resulting spark ignited a fire, causing a pocket-sized inferno.

This terrifying incident underscores the critical importance of handling and storing vape batteries with utmost care. It is a stark reminder that a simple act, like failing to store a loose battery correctly, could have devastating consequences. While he recognised the error, he urged other vapers to not carry spare batteries in their pockets.

The Perils of Loose Batteries: The Risk of Short Circuits

In the world of electronics, a 'short' or short circuit happens when electricity takes an unintended path – a 'shortcut', if you will – resulting in an excessive electric current. For lithium batteries, this can spell disaster. When a loose lithium battery comes into contact with metal objects such as keys or spare change in your pocket, a short circuit can occur.

The metal objects can inadvertently connect the positive and negative terminals of the battery, creating a path for the electric current that bypasses the regular circuit. This can cause a rapid increase in the current flowing through the circuit, leading to a sudden release of energy. In the best-case scenario, it can result in a dead battery. In the worst-case scenario, this energy release can cause the battery to heat up rapidly, potentially leading to a fire or explosion - a horrifying prospect when the battery is being carried in a pocket.

This is not just a theoretical concern; it's a real-world danger, as the unfortunate incident in the previous section makes painfully clear. This applies not only to your pocket but where else you may think to store your batteries. If you leave spare batteries in a drawer or toolbox where metal is present then there is going to be a risk.

Disposable vapes taken apart to reveal the battery inside (Image)

How to Properly Store and Manage Your Vape Batteries

When it comes to safety and extended battery life, the significance of proper battery storage can't be overstated. Storing your 18650 or 21700 rechargeable batteries correctly not only ensures your safety but also extends the lifespan of your batteries, providing you with a more seamless vaping experience.

Firstly, never carry loose batteries in your pocket or throw them into a drawer haphazardly. The danger of short-circuiting, as we've already discussed, is too great. Instead, always return your spare batteries to their original packaging when you're not using them. This keeps the terminals from coming into contact with any other metal objects and prevents any chance of a dangerous short circuit.

In the absence of original packaging, opt for a special battery case. These cases are designed to hold your batteries securely, preventing them from moving around and coming into contact with other objects. They also have individual slots for each battery, ensuring there's no chance of the batteries coming into contact with each other.

Ensure to:
Always store lithium batteries in a non-conductive (plastic) case when not in use.
Never keep loose batteries in your pocket, especially with metal objects like keys or coins.
Never try to recharge a battery unless it clearly states it is rechargeable.
Use the correct charging equipment for your batteries.
Check your batteries regularly for any dints, bumps or leaks.
Do not overcharge your batteries; in fact charging them to almost full and not allowing them to go completely dead can help extend your battery's life.

Remember, a little caution goes a long way. By simply using a proper storage method, you can vape with confidence, knowing that you're keeping yourself safe and prolonging the life of your batteries.